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Amid Backlash, Manhattan DA Drops Charges Against Bodega Worker

George Soros boosted District Attorney Alvin Bragg in his campaign for office

Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg (D.) / Twitter
• July 19, 2022 12:31 pm

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Facing criticism from across the political spectrum, a Manhattan district attorney boosted in his campaign for office by George Soros, has moved to drop murder charges against a bodega worker caught on camera defending himself from a violent assault.

The office of District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D.) filed a motion to drop the second-degree murder case against Jose Alba, a middle-aged employee who used a knife to subdue an assailant assaulting him at work, according to the New York Post. The Manhattan prosecutor's office said it could not prove Alba had been unjustified in his use of deadly force after his more physically imposing attacker lunged behind the counter, threw him against a wall, and grabbed him by the collar, the motion states. Bragg had initially set Alba's bond at $250,000, an unprecedented move for an office that has largely abandoned cash bail. New York City mayor Eric Adams had opposed the charges, saying Alba acted in self-defense and was "following the law."

The motion is one of the only times Bragg has reversed course under pressure. In June, the mother of a murdered Army veteran castigated a Bragg attorney in court to no avail after the prosecutor sentenced her son's killer to just seven years in prison. Bragg has evaded accountability for many other assault cases, even amid public outcry. His office has not issued further charges in the case, though the assailant's girlfriend had pulled a knife from her purse and stabbed Alba, according to the bodega worker's attorney.

Soros in 2021 donated more than $1 million to Bragg's campaign, helping to elect the Harlem native as part of a decade-long push to install liberal prosecutors across the country. The progressive megadonor has spent more than $40 million to place dozens of left-wing prosecutors in half of America's largest jurisdictions, a June Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund report found, ousting many career prosecutors in the process. In cities and municipalities nationwide, the prosecutors have radically overhauled bail laws and pursued lightened sentencing.

Bragg handily won his November election by 67 percentage points, promising to reduce incarceration. He told prosecutors in a memo shortly after taking office to avoid prison sentences for most felony cases except under "extraordinary circumstances."

In the past three years, homicide has shot up 52 percent in New York City, according to the latest NYPD crime data. Shootings are up more than 100 percent, and car theft is up 91 percent. The city in 2021 recorded nearly 500 homicides—the most it's seen in a decade.

Update 3:13 p.m.: This piece has been updated with additional information.

Published under: Crime, George Soros